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Subject: Ring Side Report-A review of Elder Sign:Unseen Forces rss

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Ed Kabara
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Originally posted on www.throatpunchgames.com

Game: Elder Sign expansion Unseen Forces
Players: 1-8
Playtime(setup/play/clean-up): 60 minutes
Set Ending: Kind of
TL;DR- A fun game expansion that's worth it only if you like the first game. 85%

How You Play: Think Cthulhu Yahtzee. Players take the roles of different investigators in a museum trying to prevent the emergence of an old one. Players roll dice on six different spaces trying to meet all the dice needs of a spot. Can't make a roll based on the what's on the space? Then you lose a die. A player keeps playing until he rolls all the needed symbols or he/she can't succeed. Player keep playing until they get enough elder signs to seal away the evil or until the evil arises and kills them all. The expansion adds new places, new evil monsters/ grand enemies, and the blessed/ cursed dice.

Theme: This game is a alternating awesome and horrible at theme. On the grand scale, I feel Lovecraft through and through. Each game feels tense and your life is on the line. HOWEVER, no game is really that different. The places that come up don't change between Cthulhu or Yig. The enemies you fight don't really matter if its Azathoth or Yog-sothoth. And the events are a random pile of anything. This isn't bad, but its American style. Its easily fixed, but that's for down below. 2/5

Mechanics: Roll dice, look at card, repeat. That's it. If you can play Yahtzee, then you can play this. Nothing is too crazy. The cards help when you need them. Nothing seems overly broken. Its hard, but its the kind of came where you cheer each other on as you lose as a group. The expansion add just more stuff to play with. I like the new mechanics of baring places from the players for the game. 5/5

Art/Components: It's Fantasy Flight, so it's good. Also, for a simple card and dice game, you get a crap ton of stuff. 5/5

Instructions: Again, it's Fantasy Flight, so it's good. And, the game just isn't that hard to explain. Even the added curse/bless die is pretty easy to figure out and comes with its own cards to help. 5/5


Final Thoughts: If you like Arkham Horror and Elder Sign, then this is an auto add. There is no question. The new stuff is great, and the stuff they did add makes me pretty happy. Its a bit more challenging, but I almost never lost the old game. The theme is still the major problem as with the base game. This won't make you instantly love the game, but it will give you some more hours with the game if you do love it. 17/20-85%


The Fix for Theme-There is a crap load of small cards and locations. Why not label them with different icons. Then have each elder thing have a icon list for me to make the decks with, exactly like Mansions of Madness? Now the game I play drags me kicking and screaming into something! Done and done! Then you get a 100% rating from me! Speaking of a game that does that a bit more....
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Judy Krauss
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Biotech66 wrote:

Instructions: Again, it's Fantasy Flight, so it's good.


Not usually the case...unfortunately. The first printing of Elder Sign's rulebook was terribly ambiguous and holey.

I really like Elder Sign, though, even though the "clock" mechanism is broken for anything other than a 4-player game (and it's not even great for that). I usually just use a variant for simultaneous movement and ignore the clock altogether. Elder Sign plays well as a solitaire game, too.
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Three Headed Monkey
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Jude wrote:
Biotech66 wrote:

Instructions: Again, it's Fantasy Flight, so it's good.


Not usually the case...unfortunately. The first printing of Elder Sign's rulebook was terribly ambiguous and holey.

I really like Elder Sign, though, even though the "clock" mechanism is broken for anything other than a 4-player game (and it's not even great for that). I usually just use a variant for simultaneous movement and ignore the clock altogether. Elder Sign plays well as a solitaire game, too.

Why do you think the clock is broken? My impression was that it is there to keep the pace of the Old One's awakening the same regardless of how many people are playing.

Simultaneous actions sounds interesting, though. What do you do to balance it?
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Bill Roland
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Jude wrote:
Biotech66 wrote:

Instructions: Again, it's Fantasy Flight, so it's good.


Not usually the case...unfortunately. The first printing of Elder Sign's rulebook was terribly ambiguous and holey.

I really like Elder Sign, though, even though the "clock" mechanism is broken for anything other than a 4-player game (and it's not even great for that). I usually just use a variant for simultaneous movement and ignore the clock altogether. Elder Sign plays well as a solitaire game, too.


Actually - I've found it's only truly broken in the 4-player game - and this is because in a 4-player game 99% of the time midnight is on the same players turn (unless shifted by a task requirement). Twice that I've played 4 player the midnight player has been the scientist and the mythos deck was almost complete shut off. 2 player suffers the same problem I suppose, though I've never played it with 2 player. Anything else and midnight shifts players fairly regularly - as it should.

Like many cooperative games the "clock" on the game (in this case accompanied by a real clock) runs against the number of individual player turns not times around the table - so that the number of turns the game gets to beat you is always in the same ratio as the number of turns you get to beat the game no matter how many players are playing.
 
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MC Crispy
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Avalian wrote:
Jude wrote:
Biotech66 wrote:

Instructions: Again, it's Fantasy Flight, so it's good.


Not usually the case...unfortunately. The first printing of Elder Sign's rulebook was terribly ambiguous and holey.

I really like Elder Sign, though, even though the "clock" mechanism is broken for anything other than a 4-player game (and it's not even great for that). I usually just use a variant for simultaneous movement and ignore the clock altogether. Elder Sign plays well as a solitaire game, too.


Actually - I've found it's only truly broken in the 4-player game - and this is because in a 4-player game 99% of the time midnight is on the same players turn (unless shifted by a task requirement). Twice that I've played 4 player the midnight player has been the scientist and the mythos deck was almost complete shut off. 2 player suffers the same problem I suppose, though I've never played it with 2 player. Anything else and midnight shifts players fairly regularly - as it should.

Like many cooperative games the "clock" on the game (in this case accompanied by a real clock) runs against the number of individual player turns not times around the table - so that the number of turns the game gets to beat you is always in the same ratio as the number of turns you get to beat the game no matter how many players are playing.
What about Solo?

I do agree to a certain extent - it would perhaps be best to play with an odd number of players so Midnight can cycle around the table. But with the number of Monsters that have "advance the clock" effects and Mythos cards that do the same, I'd be surprised if Midnight stayed with the same player all game.
 
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Avalian wrote:

Twice that I've played 4 player the midnight player has been the scientist and the mythos deck was almost complete shut off.


The scientist should have no affect on midnight. The clock changes in between turns, so her ability to stop monsters doesn't work.

And I can't remember who can ignore the effects of lingering effects Mythos cards, but that only works on cards that affect her directly (ie. all players lose a clue).
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Steve Duff
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ZombieFood1337 wrote:
Avalian wrote:

Twice that I've played 4 player the midnight player has been the scientist and the mythos deck was almost complete shut off.


The scientist should have no affect on midnight. The clock changes in between turns, so her ability to stop monsters doesn't work.

And I can't remember who can ignore the effects of lingering effects Mythos cards, but that only works on cards that affect her directly (ie. all players lose a clue).


Yup. As Cave said, you're playing incorrectly.
 
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Alex F
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About the Nun: That's the majority of lingering effects, to be honest.
The likes of "Common items and clue tokens can't be used today." Mary is also immune to them. (At least that's how we've been playing)

Kate negates monster summoning during her turn alone. That's quite powerful still.

Whenever a doom token is added to the doom track on a summoning space during her turn,(as a result of her failing an adventure or against Hastur's special ability with Other World cards), she also automatically negates the summoned reward on all adventure cards she resolves , successfully cancelling any extraneous summoning effects on adventure cards(Like Public Lavatory) or Monster-related entry effects that she triggers during her turn.
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Alex F
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ZombieFood1337 wrote:
Avalian wrote:

Twice that I've played 4 player the midnight player has been the scientist and the mythos deck was almost complete shut off.


The scientist should have no affect on midnight. The clock changes in between turns, so her ability to stop monsters doesn't work.

And I can't remember who can ignore the effects of lingering effects Mythos cards, but that only works on cards that affect her directly (ie. all players lose a clue).


I think you're confusing here. The example you've given with Sister Mary- that's not a lingering effect.that's the midnight effect of the Mythos card.
Like, the next time the clock strikes midnight, all investigators must lose an ally if able.Sister Mary would have to lose an ally, if she has any.

Lingering effects are those that change the rules for the current day. Such as all Adventure cards have an extra 1 Sanity penalty today, or Lock one green die. Mary may choose ignore them if she wants(there are some positive lingering effects as well.)
 
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magmaxtic wrote:
ZombieFood1337 wrote:

The scientist should have no affect on midnight. The clock changes in between turns, so her ability to stop monsters doesn't work.

And I can't remember who can ignore the effects of lingering effects Mythos cards, but that only works on cards that affect her directly (ie. all players lose a clue).


I think you're confusing here. The example you've given with Sister Mary- that's not a lingering effect.that's the midnight effect of the Mythos card.
Like, the next time the clock strikes midnight, all investigators must lose an ally if able.Sister Mary would have to lose an ally, if she has any.

Lingering effects are those that change the rules for the current day. Such as all Adventure cards have an extra 1 Sanity penalty today, or Lock one green die. Mary may choose ignore them if she wants(there are some positive lingering effects as well.)


My understanding is that the lingering effect is anything on the bottom of a Mythos card, so "The next time the clock strikes midnight" is, I believe, a lingering effect. In your example, Sister Mary would be able to ignore losing an ally. She would not, however, be able to ignore "The next time the clock strikes midnight, a monster appears!" because it doesn't directly affect her.
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MC Crispy
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Agreed!
page 15 of the revised ES rulebook wrote:
MYTHOS Cards
Each time midnight strikes, players draw one new Mythos card and return the old card facedown to the bottom of its deck. Each Mythos card has one Immediate Effect and one Lingering Effect.

The immediate effect is printed on the card’s upper half and occurs immediately after drawing the card. The lingering effect is printed on the card’s lower half. This effect applies as long as this card remains faceup.
So anything in the bottom half of the Mythos Card is, by definition, a lingering effect. However, not all of them are "scoped" to the Investigator; only the ones with Investigator scope can be ignored.
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Alex F
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Okay, thanks! I stand corrected then. I could've sworn there are two types of effects for the lower half of the Mythos card.

What confused me initially are the rules for Midnight effects on page 15:

"Resolve At Midnight effects on all cards currently in play...Also, resolve all "The next time the clock strikes midnight" effects on on Mythos cards"".

^Which I've taken to be the same as regular Midnight effects. But it's just the other type of lingering effects.
 
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MC Crispy
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magmaxtic wrote:
Okay, thanks! I stand corrected then. I could've sworn there are two types of effects for the lower half of the Mythos card.

What confused me initially are the rules for Midnight effects on page 15:

"Resolve At Midnight effects on all cards currently in play...Also, resolve all "The next time the clock strikes midnight" effects on on Mythos cards"".

^Which I've taken to be the same as regular Midnight effects. But it's just the other type of lingering effects.
You are right in some ways. The bottom half of the card is a Lingering Effect. However, some Lingering Effects are "clock strikes midnight" effects. They aren't mutually exclusive. In your example the "clock strikes midnight" effect is a sub-category of the Lingering Effect category.
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Alex F
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I'm still not clear on what lingering effects do not affect Sister Mary.
Should these be only ones that lock dice and/or have the word "investigators" in it?

It just seems like she should be able to ignore effects that disallow usage of items/clues, etc. Since they relate to investigators too; they just don't contain the word "investigator."
 
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Mark L
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magmaxtic wrote:
I'm still not clear on what lingering effects do not affect Sister Mary.
Should these be only ones that lock dice and/or have the word "investigators" in it?

It just seems like she should be able to ignore effects that disallow usage of items/clues, etc. Since they relate to investigators too; they just don't contain the word "investigator."

My understanding is that any lingering effect that directly affects her may be ignored by her (but still applies to the other investigators). So yes, an effect like "spells and unique items may not be used today" does not apply to her.
 
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